Tau­malolo grinds

Sunday News - - NEWS - AARON GOILE

HE came, he saw, he con­quered.

Ja­son Tau­malolo, the man at the cen­tre of all the con­tro­versy, got the last laugh as Tonga cre­ated his­tory with a stun­ning 28-22 vic­tory over the Ki­wis in a pul­sat­ing World Cup clash in Hamil­ton.

Ever since his con­tro­ver­sial de­fec­tion from New Zealand to Tonga, this was the fix­ture be­ing an­tic­i­pated, and the 191cm, 113kg wreck­ing ball loose for­ward was al­ways go­ing to be the cen­tre of at­ten­tion.

And he was ever the pow­er­ful pres­ence all sus­pected he would be – lead­ing Tonga’s me­tres count with 163 from 14 runs, mixed with 21 tack­les – as a sell­out crowd of 24,041 at FMG Sta­dium Waikato went crazy for the men in red.

Even if his move was re­ally a good thing for the in­ter­na­tional game, the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing it – done the day be­fore the nam­ing of the Ki­wis’ squad for the tour­na­ment, with­out in­form­ing team man­age­ment of his de­ci­sion – was the sour taste.

Never re­ally mind that David Fusitu’a, Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Manu Ma’u fol­lowed suit, it was Tau­malolo who kicked it all off; and there was the not so small mat­ter that he’s es­sen­tially the best for­ward, if not best player, in the game.

Af­ter a fe­ro­cious ad­vance and face-off of the Ki­wis’ haka, Tonga then had a new leader for their Sipi Tau – none other than that man Tau­malolo.

So, re­splen­dent in red, boots

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